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Ancient mighty Hittite Empire in Turkey reborn as popular tourist attraction

China Daily | Updated: 2019-04-26 08:37

With profound history, city strives to attract more archeology lovers and visitors

BOGAZKALE - Turkey's Anatolia is, from the beginning of human history, a crossroads for many civilizations, the most significant of which are the Hittites whose glorious capital Hattusa was the heart of a powerful empire 3,000 years ago.

The Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age was one of the civilizations that played an important role in the development of urban life. Hattusa, once an impressive city, lies near modern Bogazkale in Turkey's central province of Corum.

The ancient city is now a popular tourist attraction in Turkey. During the reign of the Hittite Empire, Hattusa played a critical role as the capital and the center of this powerful empire.

"Hattusa is located in a strategic location, near the Kizilirmak River, a source of life, and thus has been used as the capital for centuries by the Hittites," said Metin Cakar, director of Corum museum.

Ancient mighty Hittite Empire in Turkey reborn as popular tourist attraction

The museum hosts numerous artifacts of the Hittites who occupied Anatolia between 1,700 BC and 1,200 BC and expanded their territories into an empire stretching from Anatolia to Syria.

With an astounding role in history, the Hittite Empire fought the powerful Egyptian Empire in the battle of Kadesh, almost killing the Pharaoh, Ramesses the Great.

Later the empire signed what is considered the world's earliest peace treaty, the treaty of Kadesh in their Indo-European language on cuneiform tablets.

Hattusa is an official "Historic National Park" recognized by Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry. With 6-kilometer-long walls, monumental doors, 71-meter-long underground passages, a Hittite palace, 31 recently excavated temples, and an open-air theater, the city is a real tourist and archeological feat. Yet, there is still some progress to be made to attract even larger groups of archeology lovers and visitors, said Cakar, as the goal is half a million tourists a year.

"I think Hattusa should be incorporated into the elite group of sites that our country is trying to promote abroad, such as Gobeklitepe, which is the Neolithic site discovered in southeastern Turkey and considered one of the first temples of humanity," he noted.

Hattusa is a vast fortress-city sprawling over the rock terrain, with craggy citadels and elaborate temples constructed with huge limestone.

The ancient city is the result of decades-long joint works of German and Turkish archeologists and is notable for its urban organization, types of well-preserved structures, rich ornamentation of the Lions' Gate and the Royal Gate.

It was during these great battles that the Hittites developed the lightest and fastest chariots in the world. Egyptians borrowed this military vehicle from the Hittites, according to scientists.

The city of Hattusa was discovered in the late 1830s and excavated in the early 1900s, along with tens of thousands of clay cuneiform tablets which documented much of the life of the Hittite Empire.

Xinhua - China Daily

 Ancient mighty Hittite Empire in Turkey reborn as popular tourist attraction

The Lions' Gate at the ancient city Hattusa, which lies near modern Bogazkale in Turkey's central province of Corum. Li Ming / Xinhua

Ancient mighty Hittite Empire in Turkey reborn as popular tourist attraction

Ancient mighty Hittite Empire in Turkey reborn as popular tourist attraction

(China Daily 04/26/2019 page35)

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